November 13, 2020

Fuji Foods Sushi Facility Receives FDA Warning Letter For Listeria

Fuji Foods sushi facility has received an FDA warning letter for Listeria contamination in their facility. That company, located at 121 Liberty Street in Brockton, Massachusetts, recalled ready-to-eat sushi, salads, and spring rolls under the brand names Trader Joes and Okami on November 27, 2019 for Listeria monocytogenes contamination. No illnesses were reported in connection with that recall.

Fuji Foods Sushi Facility Receives FDA Warning Letter For Listeria

The warning letter states that environmental samples from different areas in the facility, including food-contact surfaces and areas near food, tested positive for Listeria monocytogenes. The FDA also found serious violations of the seafood Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) regulation during the inspection.

Because of the results of the inspection, the company’s ready-to-eat sushi rolls and seafood poke bowls are adulterated. An FDA Form 483 was issued, which details problems at contaminated facilities.

Lab analysis of the environmental swabs taken at the Fuji Foods facility found that 32 of them tested positive for Listeria monocytogenes. Ten of those swabs were from food contact surfaces which include “cutting beds on your sushi roll cutters; the cutting knives situated below the cutting bed on your sushi roll cutters; the roll portioning/cutting knife that cuts the assembled and formed sushi roll; the hard-white plastic surface that holds the assembled and formed sushi roll; and the white out-feed conveyor belt surfaces.” An additional 20 positive swabs were taken from areas directly adjacent to food contact surfaces.

And this isn’t the first time Listeria bacteria was found at that facility. Seven swabs collected on April 22, 2019 from food contact surfaces tested positive for Listeria monocytogenes.

These findings show that the company’s sanitation efforts are inadequate to effectively control pathogens on processing equipment and in the facility. Whole genome sequencing of the Listeria found in the November 2019 inspection and the April 2019 inspection showed that the pathogen is the same, which means that the bacteria has become a resident pathogen.

The letter states that the firm is not achieving satisfactory control against this pathogen and is not implementing effective methods and controls to eliminate the pathogen or minimize exposure to food.

The company has taken corrective action and has retained consultants to conduct a root cause investigation. They are deep cleaning the facility and are working to enhance sanitation and environmental monitoring programs.

Fuji Foods is going to stop manufacturing, processing, packaging, repackaging food at the Brockton facility, but will be used as a food storage warehouse for ambient, refrigerated, and frozen human food. The FDA still has concerns about the resident strain and the possible resumption of exposed food processing. The FDA is also warning the company that their cleaning should be aggressive so the Santa Fe Springs facility doesn’t become contaminated with the pathogen and has concerns about their ability to maintain a sanitary environment.

 

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